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INTRODUCTORY  ESSAY.                              169
estimates usually formed of the steepness of these mountains.
The chain does not run due east and west, its western extre-
mity heing in 35 north latitude, while the latitude of the
east end is only 28 north.
Though the Gangetic and Panjab plains, from which the
Himalaya rises abruptly, are for the most part devoid of trees,
or covered-only with scattered jungle, there is usually a belt
of forest ten or twenty miles in width, along the base of the
mountains, composed of the same trees which form the mass
of the tropical vegetation of thq lower bills:
The extension of the forest over the plain is no doubt
the effect of the equable and humid climate which prevails
along the base of the mountains, but the nature of the drain-
age is also not without its influence. The forest grows usually
on slightly inclined gravelly slopes, and is succeeded on the
side furthest from the mountains by a swampy tract, without
trees, and covered with long grasses, called the Terai. Beyond
the Terai the surface generally rises again slightly, so that
the swampy tract may be regarded as a series of flat-floored
valleys, skirting the base of the mountains; or rather, in a
strictly scientific point of view, it consists simply of the out-
ermost valleys themselves, and the bases of the mountains
forming scarcely perceptible undulations between'them.
Immediately within the mountains the first series of late-
ral valleys are often broad, and bounded by low hills, or on
one side (the southern) by low hills, and on the other (the
northern) by considerably higher ones. These are known
by the name of DMns (Doons); and when very open, flat-
floored, and with gradually sloping beds, their .true relation
to the-surrounding mountain-chains is not at once apparent.
Sometimes they appear to be indefinitely extended east and
west, in a direction parallel to the Himalayan chain; and,
running from one great rive* to another, they appear to belong
to a different order of valkys from what occur further within
the mountains'. This arises in some cases from the slope
of their beds being so extremely gradual, that the watershed